The engine used in the 1903 Wright brothers’ flyer was a 4-cylinder, 4-cycle, internal-combustion engine that lifted the world’s first airplane and its pilot into the sky in 1903. The engine was designed and built by Charlie Taylor and the Wright brothers. The engine had no fuel pump, carburetor or spark plugs. It was water cooled and generated 12 horsepower.

Lloyd Butler’s miniature “first engine of flight” model is liquid cooled and burns gasoline on a make-and-break ignition system—just like the full-size engine. A spark is generated between electrodes by breaking contact between them, a system specially adapted for internal combustion engines. The 1/4 scale Kitty Hawk engine is 9”-long, 10”-wide, and 6”-high. 

The 1/4 scale “Kitty Hawk” 4-cylinder inline engine model.

Exhibit added: May 1, 2008 - Last modified: March 22, 2023

Presented by The Joe Martin Foundation for Exceptional Craftsmanship